In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

222 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 and its constituent elements - the ingredients of dramatic tension, the impact of visual images, actors and acting, and so on. Schiller saw the original ending of Goethe's play - Egmont's vision of Gretchen - as a serious flaw, a leap into the realm of the improbable, acceptable perhaps in the world of opera but not of theatre. He therefore altered the endingconsiderably1 but did not omit it entirely, whichhas been claimed so often in the critical literature on the work. Goethe, however, disliked Schiller's treatment and later restored his own version, which in John's view bears more of the hallmarks of a painting than of a theatrical production. This is an important point for John, as it highlights the primacy of image over text in terms of theatrical efficacy and repeated revitalization which is the fundamental conviction underlying his present study. What John does best - and he truly does it in an exemplary fashion - is to present a wealth of detailed and complicated material very clearly. By means of division and subdivision of chapters he manages to relieve the reader at every point where the detail might begin to become overwhelming . One is truly grateful for the clarity of style and mmd behind and within this book. The one reservation that I have concerns what seems to me a failure to fulfil the promise contained in the title, Images of Goethe through Schiller's 'Egmont.' But perhaps the fault lies in my misreading of this title; perhaps what seemed to promise new insights into Goethe was simply meant to promise insightsinto the interpretation ofSchiller's version ofGoethe's text through its performance history over the past two hundred years. This John's book most certainly does, and it is to be welcomed on that account. What was lacking for me was an attempt to come to terms with the different goals and capabilities that variously underlie stage productions, videotape, and film presentations, all of which in my view set different parameters and offer different achievements in terms of a realization of the text. That being said, I nevertheless welcome the present study as a useful addition to the literature on Goethe's Egmont. (DEIRDRE VINCENT) Joseph de Maistre. An Examination ofthe Philosophy ofBacon: Wherein Different Questions ofRational Philosophy are Treated Translated and edited by Richard A. Lebnm McGill-Queen's University Press. lxii, 332. $75.00 In one of his last, and longest, essays, Isaiah Berlin set out to trace the origins of fascism to the work of Joseph de Maistre. One would expect wholesale condemnation of this reactionary thinker standing in polar opposition to Berlin's own paradigmatic liberalism. Instead, with unstrained equanimity Berlin depicts a thinker who was, to use an image from another of his essays, one of the great hedgehogs of history. Maistre HUMANITIES 223 had a vision of human depravity thathe displayed with an ineluctable logic and clarity of thought that exercised a fascination over Berlin, even to the point that its connection with fascism goes virtually unaddressed by him. The essay, in The Crooked Timber ojHumanity, is to be recommended for its obvious value on several levels. No less recommended is the contributionof Richard A. Lebrun, who has translated three of Maistre's works, and has written both a biography of Maistre and a monograph onMaistre's religious and political thought. The present volume is a translation of Malstre's attack on Francis Bacon (15611624 ), whom Maistre took to be responsible more than anyone for what has come to be called the Enlightenment, but which for him was an W1relieved debacle that culminated in the horror of the French Revolution. An appreciation of the attack obviously requires some background on both Maistre and his target. Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821) was born in Savoy, whence he fled before the armies of the Revolution, winding up eventually as Sardinianambassadar to the court at St Petersburg. Reaction was his career. His style and outlook recall thinkers of the century previous to his: Pascal and especially Bayle. Although the so-called Arsenal of the Enlightenment is not mentioned inthis work, Maistre did own Bayle's Dictionnaire, and may well have...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 222-224
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.